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Additional info for A World of Possibilities: Romantic Irony in Victorian Literature (Studies in Victorian Life and Literature)

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113) Varnished boots were not invented as yet (p. 207). Further, the narrator adds comments on how Apsley House and St. George's Hospital look different at the present time from the way they were in 1815, on how the Pimlico triumphal arch and "the Vanity Fair: Transcendental Buffoonery 41 hideous equestrian monster which pervades it and the neigh­ bourhood" did not exist then (p. 206). Finally, in his drawings— the "Pencil Sketches" of the subtitle of the serial publication— Thackeray did not represent his characters in the fashions of the early nineteenth century but in those of his own time.

In such poems as "Saul" (published incomplete in 1845) he had begun to examine his inherited Chris­ tian faith, but as his inability to finish "Saul" would seem to indicate, he still had further to go. By the mid-1840s Browning could affirm the intervention of the Absolute in history and accept the Incarnation as a mythic pattern for self-realization and as a model of organization for his life as artist; he agreed with his future wife that Christianity is a "worthy myth, & poetically acceptable" (Kintner, 1:43).

Great truly is the Actual; is the Thing that has rescued itself from bottomless deeps of theory and possibility, and stands there as a definite indisputable Fact, whereby men do work and live. Wisely shall men cleave to that, while it will endure; and quit it with regret, when it gives way under them. [When the Thing] is shattered, swallowed up; instead of a green flowery world, there is a waste wild-weltering chaos;—which has again, with tumult and struggle, to make itself into a world. (2:37-38) We must therefore perceive this world of change, where "Innova­ tion and Conservation wage their perpetual conflict,' with double vision: with sadness for the loss of that which was once tri­ umphant in its claim upon man's moral nature and with hope for Carlyle's The French Revolution 33 the eventual new "ideal" which dissolution of the old portends.

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